ASD Market Week Welcomes New Vendors, Long Time Exhibitors & Retailers | Day 1 March 2015

ASD Market Week welcomed retailers from all over the world as their trade show floor doors opened March 1, 2015, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Merchants came ready to discover new inventory and trends, as well as planned to meet with existing vendors and gain valuable insight from industry leaders through the variety of education that ASD offers their attendees.

This is my first time at ASD Market Week, and I’m loving it,” shared Illinois based Cathy Wagner.

Joining in Wagner’s enthusiasm were thousands of other attendees, anxious to hit the floors of ASD. Retail Minded spent Day 1 discovering some new additions to the show floor – all of whom offer exciting products for retailers to bring back to their stores. Check out some of Retail Minded’s favorite finds from Day 1 below.

BottleBand

“We created the BottleBand to turn any bottle into a handheld bottle,” shares Nick Hancey, founder and inventor of the BottleBand. The BottleBand stretches to fit any sized bottle – whether it’s a kids favorite sippie cup or a Thermos water bottle or a 16 oz generic water bottle. Designed as a one-size-fits all construction, the BottleBand can also be tightened by pulling the circular bands apart to fit any hand size. Plus – as if all this wasn’t cool enough already – the BottleBand is extremely mobile, and once you’ve finished your water you can simply throw your disposable bottle away, put the band on your wrist or tuck it in a bag and simply go on with your way. Possibly the best part, however, is that the cost is affordable at only $6 average MSRP. Your mark-up as a retailer? Even better! Visit BottleBand at ASD at Booth #SL4053 and visit them online at BottleBand.net

Soapsox

Created by dads, approved by moms and adored by kids, we are in love with Soapsox! It’s likely you have heard of them already thanks to their Shark Tank fame, but either way you will be hearing of them a lot more as many retailers are bringing Soapsox to their store shelves. Founded by dad to be (at the time) Ray Phillips, Phillips was working as a Program Director at a residential treatment facility with children who have experienced trauma. Ray found that one of the most difficult times of the day was bath time – causing children to cry, argue and even attempt to hide to avoid taking a bath. After repeated struggles with one child who could not part with his favorite stuffed animal to bathe, Phillips came up with the idea of modifying a stuffed animal so that it would hold soap. As a result? The child agreed to bathe… and more importantly, did so with ease and less stress. Phillips realized there was no product like his creation and decided to bring it to life… and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. A Shark Tank stint (they turned down an offer!) and continued hard work has paid off. Soapsox is on it’s way to taking over the washcloth for kids! Curious to learn more? Check them at ASD Market Week (Booth #SL1407) and visit their website at SoapSoxKids.com

Blendtique

Soapsox for kids… Blendtique for adults. This 21 and over product is a new concept that allows everyday consumers to create their own wine blends from the comfort of their homes. Blend, experiment, taste and even package wines created by yours truly (that’s you!) and share the love with your customers, as well. Sold in kits that come with an authentic wooden wine crate and contains four carefully selected single varietal wines, an Erlenmeyer flask, a measuring pipette and a robust instruction guide, this is bound to become a best seller in your store. Discover more by visiting the Blendtique team at ASD Market Week (Booth #SL3542) and visit Blendtique.com for more information. 

Red Cup Living

How many times have you drank out of a red Solo cup (or insert any brand name here) and then tossed it away? Countless, we’re sure. Finally, however, you can use your favorite “red cup” again and again and again thanks to Red Cup Living. Exhibiting for the first time at ASD Market Week, Red Cup Living is a lifestyle company that pays homage to the American party icon – a cultural staple, as they say – the famous “red” cup. Kate and Mike – the founders – brought Red Cup Living to life after a front patio “party” that they routinely have every Friday night at their home. Inspired to bring people together, to have fun and to create memories, Red Cup Living offers a variety of styles and colors… not just red, though that is their most popular… in resuable, dishwasher safe, break-resistent and BPA free products. From 18 oz. cups to 24 oz. cups with lids and straws to margarita style cups to sippy cups, mugs, insulated tumblers and more, there is something for everyone. Looking for a fun and nostalgic new addition to your store? Look no further. Visit Red Cup Living at Booth #SL337 and online at RedCupLiving.com

For more ASD Market Week updates straight from the show floors, be sure to follow Retail Minded’s Nicole Leinbach Reyhle as she tweets live and shares updates during all four days of ASD Market Week at @RetailMinded.com. Plus, follow ASD Market Week on Facebook here. 

10 Reasons Beyond Inventory That Trade Shows (Should) Rock

Trade shows are well known for being go-to-destinations to source inventory for stores, but have you ever considered why else trade shows are valuable?

Many trade shows offer education sessions, networking opportunities, social events and hands-on product knowledge that simply can’t be gained in stores. A look at the upcoming ASD Market Week in Las Vegas is a great example of this, with show perks that include an opening night party, over 60 educational seminars, an easy-to-use digital show planner and more.

When considering your next trade show experience, consider if they offer you the following:

1. Educational Seminars / Workshops - A great example of education at a trade show is the the Independent Retailer Conference, which ASD Market Week welcomes to each of their bi-annual, Las Vegas based events. Attendees can engage, learn and connect with retail thought leaders as part of their trade show experience and – surprisingly – at no cost to them… a huge perk for often budget-strapped retailers. Past experts that have participated in the Independent Retailer Conference at ASD include Constant Contact, Yelp, SnapRetail, Shopify, LightSpeed and more.

2. Inviting Lounge Areas / Rest Areas for Show Attendees - Any merchant who has ever attended a trade show knows how important it is to sit down and relax every so often. After all, trade shows require a lot of walking and working… a combo that practically screams “give me a break” after a long day! When attending trade shows, it’s always nice to feel accomodated – with your best interests always considered. This includes comfortable resting areas for in between vendor appointments, to relax your feet or just because.

3. Show Sponsored Party (free cocktails included!) - Let’s face it… everyone likes a night out! And after working all day and for many, 7 days a week in general, a night out is always fun to look forward to. Many trade shows offer perks for their attendees, and ASD Market Week is no exception. Attendees of their upcoming March 1-4, 2015 Las Vegas show can look forward to joining ASD management at the The Sayers Club inside recently opened hotel SLS Las Vegas. Doors open at 10pm, and there is a one hour well open bar from 10pm-11pm. All badge holders receive complimentary entry!

4. Exciting Giveaways - In true Vegas style, attendees of the upcoming ASD Market Week can get in the spirit of “winning” by participating in the various social media giveaways that ASD has going on to win tickets to Vegas shows that include Absinthe, as well as a concert by country music stars Rascall Flatts. Show tickets for free? Yes, please. Whatever trade show you attend, discover what giveaways they may be offering… then aim to win!

5. Discounts at Local Attractions - Okay, so giveaways are great… but the truth is, you likely won’t win (hey, odds are stacked against you). This said, you should still aim to have some fun while attending a trade show – after all, it’s not often you get away from your store (right?!). Check out the website of the trade show you plan to attend and see what specials they may be offering you as an attendee of their show. ASD Market Week, for example, offers discounts on various Las Vegas shows and more. For a full list of their attendee show perks, click here. 

6. Hotel Specials - Hopefully the trade show you plan to attend is free, because the expenses for travel can add up. Fortunately, a show like ASD Market Week offers hotel discounts and special rates that make attending their shows affordable and enjoyable. A win-win. As for shows you attend that don’t offer this? You may want to consider attending another show…

7. Airport and / or Hotel Shuttles - Traveling can sometimes be a pain… unless, of course, you can get around with ease. Held in Las Vegas – a town designed to get from point A to point B in your walking shoes, via a monorail or with easy to access cabs – ASD Market Week makes getting from your hotel to the show as easy as 1,2,3. They offer complimentary shuttles from the show to many hotels, plus ASD Market Week is held in the Las Vegas Convention Center which is adjacent to the Las Vegas monorail. Truly, it really is that easy.

8. Customized Digital Show Planners –  If you’re heading to ASD, it’s a must you use the Show Planner provided by ASD Market Week to help you manage your show experience. If you’re heading to another show, you should still check this out because it’s a fantastic tool to use for trade shows… and one that we’re confident one day you’ll wonder how you lived without! This Show Planner is easy to use and provides a tremendous amount of support to your show navigation. The planner allows you to identify vendor matches based on product categories, contact exhibitors for show appointments, as well as review and schedule educational seminars. The ASD Show Planner is a one-stop destination for your planning, that allows you to identify all that ASD has to offer as you prepare for your big trip to the show. The Show Planner also allows you to export appointments to your own Desktop calendar – making your show planning even that much more efficient. For a quick video tutorial on how to use the ASD Market Week Show Planner, simply click here

9. Mobile Apps - It’s 2015, so apps are becoming more and more of the norm. But only apps that truly help you and your trade show experience make sense. Consider what apps may be available, then identify how they may work for you to help ease your show experience and save you time. Plus, check out ASD’s recently launched one here! 

10. Vendor Matchmaking Support - Not sure where to go? What vendors to see? What to do? We love the idea of matchmaking services to support you and your trade show experience. ASD welcomes attendees to ask their matchmakers whatever they wish – from hotel questions to vendor questions to educational seminar questions and more. Having these located throughout the show floor is an added perk – making it easy, easy, easy for attendees to enjoy their trade show experience.

When combining the above mentioned perks with strong inventory assortment, trusted vendors and a broad range of retail categories to source from, you can rest assured that you are maximizing your trade show experience.

Want to learn more about Retail Minded’s favorite trade show? Discover ASD Market Week here! 

 

Photo Credit: Woodmark, a past exhibitor at ASD Market Week. 

Retail Minded’s Nicole Reyhle Recognized as #1 Retail Influencer Out of Vend’s Top 50

Parker, CO (February 25, 2015) - Vend – a point-of-sale, inventory, and customer loyalty software – has released their 2015 “Top 50 Influencers List” and holding the number one spot this year is Retail Minded’s Founder Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, who is also the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference and a Forbes.com contributor. This is the second time Reyhle has been recognized by Vend, holding the #22 spot on their 2014 list.

Vend defines their “retail influencers” as people who consistently publish or share content specifically about retail, as well as they must have a deep understanding of retailers and shoppers and also hold extensive industry experience. As explained on their website, these individuals represent the “top retail trailblazers, who will keep you updated on the latest news, trends, and innovations, so you can keep moving forward on the path to retail success.”

I’m honored to be recognized by Vend as a retail influencer, and humbled to be recognized as their number one choice this year. It takes an village – as the saying goes – to raise children, and likewise, I believe it takes a village to support retailers. This list is a great representation of the many retail influencers that collectively create a dynamic retail village for merchants and industry providers to lean on. I’m honored to be among them,” Reyhle states.

Among the other retail influencers recognized by Vend include Georganne Bender – one half of retail strategists and professional speaking duo Kizer & Bender –  holding the #19 spot. Kizer & Bender also sit on the Retail Minded Advisory Board and are frequent emcees of the Independent Retailer Conference, co-founded by Retail Minded’s Reyhle. Paula Rosenblum – a fellow Forbes.com contributor – is also recognized, as is Forbes Staff Writer Clare O’Conner.

Bob Phibbs – known as The Retail Doctor – was recognized at the #2 spot, with Shep Hyken, George Anderson and Claire Rayner following in the #3, #4, and #5 spots. The list consists of a variety of retail influencers, ranging from authors to speakers to editors to research analysts and more.

To review Vend’s 2015 Top 50 Influencer list, click here.  

To learn more about Vend, please click here. 

# # #

A Corporation or LLC: Which is Appropriate for Your Business?

If you’re currently in business as a retailer or thinking about getting started, you’ll eventually have to determine the appropriate legal structure for tax and compliance purposes. Now, the first thing that may come to mind is the tax implications of your decision, but that’s not the only concern you should have; as your business grows, so does the need to ensure your personal assets aren’t at risk. Understanding your business and how the risks of tax fraud will affect you will help you prepare and safeguard your assets. Identity and fraud protection company LifeLock offers a comprehensive guide to help you understand how tax fraud occurs and ways to mitigate risks.

S-Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) extend the protections you may be searching for, but which one is best for your retail business?

LLCs

The SBA defines an LLC as “a business structure similar to a sole-proprietorship or a general partnership. According to the IRS, ‘It is designed to provide the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.’ As a pass-through entity, all profits and losses pass through the business to the LLC owners (aka ‘members’).”

Setup is fairly straight-forward and inexpensive. In addition, profits are distributed at the owner’s discretion, and not based on particular percentages. However, LLCs are assessed a self-employment tax of 15.3 percent for net income if operated by a sole owner. But you always have the option of electing S-Corp taxation.

S-Corps

The SBA’s definition of an S-Corp is “a corporation that has received the Subchapter S designation from the IRS. A business must first be chartered as a corporation in the state where it’s headquartered then file to be considered an S-Corp. According to the IRS, S-Corporations are ‘considered by law to be a unique entity, separate and apart from those who own it.’ This allows for a limit on the financial liability for which an owner (aka ‘shareholder’) is responsible.”

Owners are compensated via salary, dividends and profits generated from the company. And in the event the profits are exorbitant, they can be distributed in the form of dividends to reduce tax liability, as the rate is significantly lower. Payroll expenses are also deductible.

Unfortunately, S-Corps are much tougher and more expensive to form. Up to 100 shareholders are allowed, which leaves you a substantial amount of room to seek investors for your retail business, but there are a variety of strict rules each shareholder must abide by, including citizenship, passive income and salary requirements.

Which structure is best?

Hopefully this guide has helped you understand the difference between LLCs and S-Corps. If you’re just starting out in your retail business, it may be best to organize as an LLC to get up and running as quickly as possible. And as your business grows and profits increase, you can elect to be as taxed as an S-Corp to soften the blow from the IRS. However, it’s important to understand that most LLCs have a limited life and must be dissolved in the event one of the members die or face bankruptcy. Finally, if you plan to go public, it’s best to begin making preparations to convert to an S-Corp or C-Corp well in advance and consult a reputable accountant for assistance.

Photo Credit: Provided by Social Monsters with Permission to Use 

 

Should Consumers Be More Concerned About Cyber Breaches?

2014 will be remembered as the year that security breaches kept on turning up in the retail industry like a bad penny.

Large retailers like Home Depot, Target and Kmart are still licking their wounds after suffering crippling cyber-attacks. To prevent a recurrence of these attacks, retailers are directing significant resources to cyber security and are implementing various solutions to protect themselves.

I’d like to focus this post on the consumers, who seem to be much less concerned about the privacy issues and payment fraud risks that come with each of these breaches. On the one hand, a recent Associated Press poll revealed that 58% of people are deeply worried when spending money online.  However, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 3,110 online consumers indicated that 62% have not taken any steps to protect their privacy on the Internet.

In spite of heavy media coverage, a surprisingly large number of customers have continued shopping with Target and other victimized brands.  They also apparently have no qualms about continuing to provide their credit card information to online merchants both big and small. So despite their deep concerns, many online buyers are choosing convenience over prudence.

In a certain sense, this reaction is understandable. As a consumer, if you pay via credit card or an e-wallet like PayPal, your transaction is almost always guaranteed.  Even if somebody steals your card information and uses it to accumulate thousands of dollars of merchandise, you only have to contact your card company to have the charges reversed.  This is why credit cards are considered the safest payment option in the world.

However, fraudulent credit card charges are not the only threat you face when a retail security breach occurs. There are also the potential threats of identity theft and compromised passwords, either of which may enable fraudsters to access your personal and financial information – including accounts that may not have the same protection offered by the credit card companies. The sorry facts speak for themselves: 1 in 7 online consumers were notified that their personal data had been breached in 2013, a 56% increase over 2012. And these numbers are steadily rising.

The fact is that hackers are becoming increasingly daring by targeting consumers’ PCs, tablets and smart phones where they may not expect it — at coffee houses, doctor’s offices, grocery stores and railway stations, to name just a few locations. Credit card numbers can also be stolen when a card is used at a gas station or an ATM where a thief has replaced a store’s authentic card reader with a fake card reader or “skimmer.” Furthermore, many people don’t think twice about sharing personal information on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media, despite the fact that they may be exposing themselves to malicious hackers.

The bottom line is that neither retailers nor consumers can afford to be complacent. They should all be very concerned about the problem of cyber security breaches.  Even though it’s the credit card providers that are ultimately held responsible for financial losses resulting from payment fraud (until the EMV liability shifts kick in, at any rate), no retailer wants to experience the media scrutiny, customer rage and loss of reputation that companies like Target and Home Depot have gone through over the past year.  They do care, and are doing everything in their power to protect both themselves and their customers from security breaches and payment fraud.  But consumers need to be concerned as well; they have a lot more at risk than they may think.

Contributed by Oren Levy, CEO of payment tech provider Zooz.